October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but most people are in fact unaware. One reason is that Republicans in congress frittered away most of the month by closing the government and creating a manufactured crisis over the debt ceiling.
But the statistics on domestic violence and guns ought to get our attention. If October is like every other month, nearly 50 women in the U.S. will be murdered with a gun by an intimate partner -- overwhelmingly a husband or boyfriend. We've had so many mass shootings in places like Tucson, Aurora, Newtown, and the Navy Yard that it would be easy to conclude gun violence knows no gender. But that's not quite true.
Women are over three-and-a-half times more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner. And a gun in a household with a history of domestic violence increases that risk by twenty fold. Stalkers also use guns to harm their victims -- and you guessed it -- more than 75 percent of those victims are female.
A few common sense changes in the law would make women safer. For starters, we need to close the loopholes on background checks for gun ownership. Right now, if you want a gun without submitting to a background check, just pick one up at a gun show or online. No problem -- no questions asked.
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